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Amazon in hot water over unauthorized in-app purchases made by kids

The FTC originally filed the case in 2014, claiming that Amazon did not provide enough warning that free apps could contain in-app purchases.

Published onApril 27, 2016

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It’s a problem that many parents have encountered. You let your kid play on your tablet or smartphone for an hour or two, and suddenly you’re the proud owner of $40 worth of Clash of Clans gems. In a case similar to what happened to both Apple and Google in 2013 and 2014, a judge has ruled that Amazon is guilty of illegally allowing children to make in-app purchases on their parents’ accounts.

The justification for this ruling comes from Amazon not posting sufficient warning that apps marked “free” could potentially contain in-app purchases. Although Amazon does currently offer a modicum of warning to this effect, both the Federal Trade Commision and the Honorable John C. Coughenour of a US District Court believe that more copious signage and login restrictions would be appropriate. This ruling closes a case filed against Amazon by the FTC back in July of 2014. The organization is pushing for the judge to rule that the A-to-Z retailer should refund users who incurred expenses this way.

If history is any indicator, the FTC will get their wish. After all, both Apple and Google wound up settling in similar cases to the tune of $50+ million. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez stated that they “are pleased the federal judge found Amazon liable for unfairly billing consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases by children… We look forward to making a case for full refunds to consumers as a result of Amazon’s actions.”

What are your thoughts regarding this case between Amazon and the FTC acting on the behalf of consumers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!